Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Aspirin's role in cancer mystery explained by scientists | Fox News

Australian scientists have discovered how anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin prevent tumors from spreading.
The breakthrough by researchers at Melbourne's Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre paves the way for new treatments to halt cancer in its tracks.
While the benefits of non-steroid anti-inflammatories on cancer were known, the biological processes involved had never been fully understood.
Co-lead author Tara Karnezis said tumors secret proteins and compounds called growth factors, attracting blood and lymphatic vessels to their vicinity and allowing the cancer to flourish and spread. These growth factors also encourage lymphatic vessels -- or "supply lines" -- to widen, which enables the spread of cancer, she added.
"But a group of drugs reverse the widening of the supply line and make it hard for the tumor to spread -- at the end of the day that's what kills people," Karnezis said.
"This discovery unlocks a range of potentially powerful new therapies to target this pathway in lymphatic vessels, effectively tightening a tumor's supply lines and restricting the transport of cancer cells to the rest of the body."
While oncologists may include aspirin in patients' treatment, this discovery enabled the development of better and more efficient drugs, she said.
The research is published in the journal Cancer Cell.

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Thursday, February 9, 2012

Cancer sufferer prepares for his part in toughest race on earth - Health and Family - Yorkshire Post

Dean Clifford is used to pushing himself to the limit.
His hobby is summiting unclimbed mountains, but now he is taking on his biggest challenge yet.
Two years ago Dean, 39, from York was diagnosed with thyroid cancer which had spread to his lungs and skull.
He had just returned from a climbing expedition to Kyrgyzstan where he got to name two previously unclimbed mountains.
“It was a couple of weeks after we got back and my wife said that I had a lump on my neck, I thought it had been there for ages but she suggested that I get it checked out.”
Dean’s doctors wasn’t unduly worried but decided to send him for an ultrasound scan which revealed a lump the size of an apple in his throat.
“I had absolutely no idea. I felt fine and had no discomfort.”
When the tumour was removed from Dean’s thyroid it was found to be malignant and had also spread to his lungs and skull.
“I had to undergo four lots of radiotherapy which meant I had to spend four days in isolation at St James’s each time.”
Dean is so grateful for all the treatment he has received in Leeds and York that he decided he wanted to give something back. And what better way than tackling what has been dubbed the toughest foot race in the world, the Marathon des Sables.
“I am used to pushing myself both mentally and physically and I suppose this is the ultimate.”
Dean is running two marathons a week in preparation for the event in April. It will see him run the equivalent of nearly a marathon a day for six days across the Sahara Desert.
He is more than aware of the challenges ahead but feels it is something he needs to do.
“Temperatures could in excess of 40 degrees and we have to carry everything on our backs so I have been practising running marathons with a backpack on which is tough.
“But we are training in winter so nothing can prepare me for the heat I am going to experience and all the risks that brings with it, such as dehydration.
“I have done running before but nothing like this endurance event. The risk is that if you set off too quickly then by day three or four you have nothing left. It really is a case of pushing yourself to the limit both mentally and physically. I’m used to that but even my wife says I have gone a bit far this time.”
Dean, a plumbing and heating engineer, has been in training with a friend who has done the Marathon des Sables eight times and so has been giving him some top tips.
“A lot of people don’t even managed to finish the event and for others it is just a case of getting to the end. But I am competitive and I am aware this is a race. I want to finish but I don’t want to have walked the whole way.”
As well as the dehydration, other dangers include snakes and scorpions as Dean will be sleeping under a tarpaulin in the desert.
“We have to carry a venom pack with us at all times in case we get bitten,” he says.
Dean is aiming to raise at least £3,000 for Cancer Research UK.
“While I have been getting treatment for my cancer I have seen so many people much poorlier than me. I just want to raise some money to help the research into cancer.”
Dean still has to undergo scans to see whether his cancer has returned.
“I have another scan at the end of February as they think the tumour in my lungs might have started to grow again.
“But whatever they find I am still going to take part in the Marathon des Sables.”
Anyone who wants to sponsor Dean should visit
Race equivalent to six marathons
The Marathon des Sables is a race across 151 miles of the Sahara Desert run over six days – the equivalent of nearly six regular marathons. Temperatures reach in excess of 40 degrees and in addition to that, competitors have to carry everything they will need for the duration (apart from a tent) on their backs in a rucksack (food, clothes, medical kit, sleeping bag etc). Water is rationed and handed out at each checkpoint. It is run ever year and has been dubbed the toughest foot race on earth. While some take part to win, others compete just to complete it.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Certain Cancer Drugs May Have Fatal Side Effects: Analysis - US News and World Report

Certain Cancer Drugs May Have Fatal Side Effects: Analysis

Risk is very small, but doctors, patients should be made aware, investigators say

February 6, 2012 RSS Feed Print
MONDAY, Feb. 6 (HealthDay News) -- Treatment with three relatively new cancer drugs may be linked to a slightly increased risk of death, a new analysis suggests.
While the risk is low, it should be taken into account by doctors and patients, according to Dana-Farber Cancer Institute scientists and colleagues.

The investigators analyzed the findings of 10 clinical trials that included nearly 4,700 patients treated with sorafenib (Nexavar) for kidney and liver cancer; sunitinib (Sutent) for kidney cancer and gastrointestinal stromal tumor; or pazopanib (Votrient) for kidney cancer.
These so-called "targeted" drugs are used to stop the growth or spread of cancer by blocking the vascular endothelial growth factor tyrosine kinase receptors in cancer cells, the researchers explained in a Dana-Farber news release.
The analysis of the clinical trials revealed that the incidence of fatal complications was 1.5 percent in patients who received any of the three drugs, compared with 0.7 percent in patients who received standard treatments or placebos.
Bleeding, heart attack and heart failure were the most common fatal side effects noted in the clinical trials. In addition, liver failure was also reported, according to the report published in the Feb. 6 edition of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
"There is no doubt for the average patient, these drugs have benefits and are [U.S. Food and Drug Administration]-approved for these indications," study leader Dr. Toni Choueiri said in the news release. "While the absolute incidence of these fatal side effects is very small, the relative risks are higher and patients and practitioners need to be aware of it."
More information
The U.S. National Cancer Institute has more about targeted cancer therapies.
Copyright © 2012 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Exercise a Good Pick-Me-Up After Cancer Treatment: Study

Exercise a Good Pick-Me-Up After Cancer Treatment: Study

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Aerobic, resistance and strength training improved weight and well-beingWEDNESDAY, Feb. 1 (HealthDay News) -- Exercise can improve the health, energy and well-being of cancer patients after they've completed their main cancer treatment, a new review finds.
University of Hong Kong researchers analyzed the results of 34 clinical trials that examined the effects of physical activity among adult patients with breast, prostate, gynecologic, colorectal, gastric or lung cancer.
The study was published online Feb. 1 in BMJ.
There were an average of 93 patients in each trial, which included aerobic, resistance and strength training. The patients' average age was 55, and the training lasted roughly 13 weeks.
Breast cancer patients showed improvements in blood sugar control, body mass index (BMI) and body weight, physical functions such as lower limb strength, mental health problems such as fatigue and depression, and quality of life.
Patients with other types of cancer who were physically active experienced improvements in BMI and body weight, physical function such as oxygen consumption and hand-grip strength, depression and quality of life.
Different types and levels of exercise had specific effects. For example, breast cancer patients found that aerobic exercise plus resistance was much more effective on physical fitness, emotional fitness, overall well-being and fears about breast cancer than aerobic activity alone.
The researchers also found that younger patients seemed to gain more benefit from exercise, but said this finding was not entirely conclusive because younger patients could exercise for longer periods of time.
The findings show that "quality of life was a clear significant benefit of physical activity and that clinically, there were important positive effects on physical functions and quality of life," the researchers concluded in a journal news release.
More information
The U.S. National Cancer Institute has more about cancer survivorship.
SOURCE: BMJ, news release, Jan. 31, 2012
Copyright © 2012 HealthDay. All rights reserved.